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The Scenic Hills is a vast tract of gently rolling hills and valleys that cradle the city of Campbellown and provide its scenic backdrop. Running from Denham Court in the north to just past the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan in the south, the Hills are rich in aboriginal and European history, representing one of the last colonial rural landscapes left in the Cowpastures area. In 1974 Campbelltown City Council took action to protect the area for future generations by making it a Scenic Protection Area. The revised Campbelltown Environmental Plan 2015 maintained this, zoning it Environmental Management with the specific objective of preserving its rural heritage landscape. Unfortunately, because of its location – less than an hour from Sydney’s CBD and the same from the Southern Highlands – the Hills have suffered ongoing encroachment from Sydney’s growing population.
The Scenic Hills Association was formed on 17 March 2010 when it became clear that the Hills zoning would not be enough to ensure its survival. At its core is a group of landowners and residents who live in or near the Scenic Hills, principally in the suburbs of Varroville, St Andrews, Raby, Kearns, Bow Bowing and Blairmount, but with Friends now extending across the Macarthur area and as far north as Queensland.
We are passionate about the natural beauty and rich history that surrounds us in the Scenic Hills region on the South West outskirts of Sydney.
We want to preserve and protect the Scenic Hills for the enjoyment of the entire community against developments that may threaten or damage the uniqueness of these environmentally protected lands.
Our aim is to maintain the Scenic Hills as an Environmental Protection Area, defending its heritage and bushland from further urban and industrial encroachment.
We recognise the environmental, spiritual, historical and cultural values embodied in these lands, which need to be upheld and preserved for future generations.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of this land.
We recognise that the iconic Scenic Hills region gives us a sense of identity and sense of place as residents of Campbelltown and as Australians.
We are not aligned with any political party or group.
We act first and foremost for the protection of our Hills but our ethos is to not endanger other communities or groups as a means of protecting our own space.
Our Position on Coal Seam Gas[Note: As at February 2016, the following is out of date as AGL has cancelled its Northern Expansion of the Camden Gas Project and has announced it is closing the rest of the Camden Gas Project within six years. We will update this in due course…but the following makes interesting historic reading.] AGL Energy Limited wants to mine for coal seam gas (CSG) in the Scenic Hills and adjoining suburbs of Campbelltown and Camden in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. It has made it clear to the community that no land is off-limits. AGL exhibits a sense of entitlement in expecting that it can use the following land for its coal seam gas mining operations in this area:
environmental protection land (even though the zoning prohibits extractive industries and mines),
small rural holdings reserved for urban agriculture,
sensitive land use areas (owned and used by religious communities, schools, churches),
a botanic garden (The Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan), and
government land reserved for critical public infrastructure (land managed by the Sydney Catchment Authority for the Upper Canal, an 1880s water channel carrying Sydney’s back up water supply).
SHA believes that coal seam gas (CSG) mining has not been proved safe and should not be allowed to continue ANYWHERE until truly independent scientific research can prove that:
Step 1: the industry provides a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to coal, and is necessary in facilitating the transition from coal to renewable sources of energy (rather than drawing investment away from the latter),
Step 2: that it is safe and does not cause irreparable damage to other sustainable land uses, to the environment (water, air, flora and fauna), to heritage, to the local economy and to human and animal health.
and only then be allowed to continue if and when
Step 3: appropriate legislation and truly independent monitoring can be put in place to guarantee the above.
However we believe there are some areas where it is already evident that CSG cannot operate without significantly compromising the existing land use…
This applies to the whole of the Camden Gas Project Stage 3 and parts of Stage 2 (Sydney Metropolitan Area). CSG should be prohibited in these areas NOW:
AGLs Camden Gas Project Stage 3 should NOT be approved.
The OFarrell Government should immediately cancel AGLs Petroleum Exploration License No.2 (PEL2) which covers Western Sydney, and cancel its petroleum production leases in residential or rural-residential areas of south west Sydney, specifically PPL5.
If the EPA finds that AGL has significantly breached its Environment Protection Licence and planning conditions of consent over air monitoring at the Rosalind Park Gas Treatement Plant (currently under investigation) , then PPL 4 (stage 2) should be cancelled since this area is a future urban release area for Sydney.
The government should cancel and not approve any other licences or leases in the Sydney Metropolitan Area and similarly identified areas of planning conflict.
A moratorium should be applied elsewhere until the future of coal seam gas can be determined. (sourced from website 4/11/2021)